Daniel Baker Joins the Karmê Chöling Kitchen

Created Thu, Nov 19, 2020 by
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Mike DeGive
Daniel Baker joins Karme Choling Kitchen.

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Daniel Baker is Karmê Chöling’s new Kitchen Manager — and what a relief that is. The word from the Dining Room — spoken between bites of garden vegetables, Southwestern chili, green beans and safron rice — is that Daniel has settled in just fine.

First, the extra pair of hands allows Chef Jason Taylor a chance to sleep between meals. But mostly because Daniel has been cooking up some tasty dishes.

I entered the kitchen/shrine room last week as Daniel was making lunch: Greek Cod and Greek Tofu with quinoa tabouli and yellow squash. We talked about his travels in Shambhala Land.

“I came here because they have a strong, committed practice” Daniel said. “Not even in the sense that everyone shows up all the time. But there’s a contingent of people who are consistent about it. I guess you can say there’s an energy of practice here, of training — not just hanging out.”

Daniel’s travels include quality time at Gampo Abbey, Sky Lake and, most recently, Shambhala Mountain Center. He’s done most of his major Shambhala programs here at Karmê Chöling.

“My first experience of coming onto the land of Karmê Chöling was basically like … a really sweet, warm energy — but also like an intense, energetic bear hug. And I thought to myself, ‘I like this.’ ”

Daniel’s enjoyment of cooking took him by surprise. Before heading to the Abbey, Daniel more or less ran a kitchen in a college town for five or six years. When he quit, he said “Never again.”

“Then, while I was at the Abbey, I got my arm twisted into running the kitchen. And I realized that it was more the environment rather than the cooking itself that I didn’t like, and that I actually really enjoyed cooking.”

He’s worked with Jason before, as well, while cooking for a Scorpion Seal 10 Assembly a few years ago.

“I like working with Jason quite a bit. I’ve wanted to work with him for years because he has such an extensive amount of experience and knowledge,” Daniel said.

Ultimately, the job of Kitchen Manager is to ensure that delicious Karmê Chöling meals keep appearing on the food line day after day.

“I find a light touch goes far,” Daniel said. “People will like working with you instead of feeling like they have to come in to work with you. Everyone’s a lot happier and the food comes out a lot better.”


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